Jackie Emerson isn't your typical teenage fangirl. Sure, she's been obsessed with The Hunger Games since long before she had to read the book for her high school English class, and when director Gary Ross interviewed her for his proposal to direct The Hunger Games, she thought to herself, "What if?" The difference between Jackie and the hundreds of thousands of other fans, however, is that she was actually selected to participate in The Hunger Games. But don't worry -- this wasn't a fight to the death.
The 17-year-old actress will be playing Foxface in The Hunger Games movie, coming out on coming March 23. It's based on the trilogy by Suzanne Collins that quietly became a cultural touchstone of Twilight proportions after its release in 2008. The Lionsgate theatrical release of the film version of the first novel is one of the most anticipated movies of 2012, and Jackie's character, Foxface, is a "tribute": a young person chosen to fight in the Hunger Games. Foxface competes against Katniss in the games and is one of the few who stands a real chance at winning.
Huffington Post High School caught up with Jackie to talk about her Hunger Games experience, her budding music career, and what it's like to do all this and still be a totally normal high school senior.
Has there been a lot of buzz at your school since you’ve come back from filming the movie?
Everyone has just been really supportive. My friends have just been fabulous because they’re just as excited as I am! I’m such a huge fan... It’s just a crazy idea that I could even be part of this.
Are people treating you differently in classes? Do you think things will get crazier when March rolls around?
I don’t know, I guess we’ll see. Ask me that question in a couple of months and I’ll let you know!
Question from one of our Twitter followers, @Wave_Disrtict4: What is Foxface’s real name?
Oh, I can’t tell! It’s something I came up with when I was doing character work.
That’s so fun! You got to make up the name?
Yeah! I think that’s the coolest part about being able to play her: There’s not a lot of information about her in the book. I really got to have a field day. [Ed Note: The name is not actually mentioned in the movie: It was part of the character portfolio that Jackie put together in preparation for the film.]
Do you think it made your job easier, not knowing any back story about her?
I think it was just different. It was really fun because I got to use my imagination and really make her come alive. Hopefully [that comes across] in the movie. So obviously, she has to have a name! She’s not Foxface in her hometown.
Did you run it by Suzanne [Collins, the author of The Hunger Games]?
No... I hope she doesn’t hate me! I’ve just been trying to keep it to myself for now, and then maybe after the movie comes out, I’ll tell people. But I feel like people will be so opinionated about it because it may or may not be what everyone imagined. But it’s what it was for me, you know? I’m still debating whether or not I will disclose that information when the premiere is over. You’ll be the first to know!
You mentioned in another interview that you think Foxface is the smartest tribute in the arena. I’d love to hear a little bit more about why you think that.
Well, she gets through the games without killing anybody!
That’s a good point.
The only other character who you really know doesn’t kill anyone, besides all the people that die in the blood bath, is Rue. Foxface figures out all these little tiny details about how everyone else is playing, like with the mine hopping scene… Oh God, these are spoilers! Is it okay that I’m saying this?
This stuff happens in the book! You’re good.
Well, [Foxface] figures out where the mines are surrounding the career camp. Like, who does that? She had to be very detail-oriented and very analytical to figure that out. She [had to have been] spying on them and have them not notice her.